East London NHS Foundation Trust
Navina Evans has over 20 years’ clinical experience in psychiatry, medicine and paediatrics, and came to East London in 1997 as a consultant psychiatrist. In 2011, Navina took on the role of deputy chief executive and director of operations at the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), and was appointed as chief executive in August 2016.
Prior to 2011, Navina worked as the clinical director for child and adolescent mental health services at ELFT, where she led on ensuring effective delivery in terms of quality, performance and effectiveness and had lead responsibility for partnerships and integrated care.
I got involved in the Aspiring chief executive programme with a very specific end in mind. I had my own personal development plan which was agreed at the time with my chief executive, chair and wider executive team. We also had a succession plan within the organisation. My chief executive and chair saw it as part of their responsibility to develop the next generation of chief executives; getting on the programme wouldn’t only benefit me, but the organisation too.
I met a lot of leaders in the NHS before I went on the programme and got a sense that many people are feeling quite burnt out, negative and helpless. This was an opportunity to meet like-minded people who had energy and enthusiasm. Tapping into that was good; I felt really enthused about being part of this ‘club’ and I made contacts that will hopefully be lasting ones.
The Aspiring chief executive programme has helped me by challenging me to be active in shaping things rather than simply accepting that things are done ‘to us’ as leaders.
The aspiring chief executive programme has helped me by challenging me to be active in shaping things rather than simply accepting that things are done ‘to us’ as leaders.
It’s helped me project confidence and be much more considered about the way I react when people resist change, an example being the introduction of a new quality and improvement methodology which will involve large scale change in culture.
I’ve been able to talk to colleagues about how we will manage the change in our relationships and better understand our team dynamics together with the rest of the executive team.
We’re a stable organisation which isn’t in deficit so it would be easy to just focus on maintaining the status quo, but I’ve now become more heavily involved in engaging with external stakeholders around sustainability and transformation partnerships and am able to support our staff to push ourselves even further in our ambitions to improve quality.
If you want to be a chief executive within the next two to five years and your manager supports that goal, this programme could be included in your personal development plan. People need to be more explicit about their career aspirations and be able to access the help available to fulfil them.
I knew what the end point was going to be and I’ve achieved it. There’s no question in my mind that being on the programme helped me to secure this privilege
My chair and I are both BAME women, so our unique partnership was of considerable interest. Although things have probably improved, I think a lot of people from a diverse background experience subtle discrimination. We have a shortage of expertise, a shortage of skills and a shortage of staff and we’re not exploiting what is an untapped resource. It’s important that it doesn’t end up being tokenistic. We need to think equity rather than equality and I think the problem is that we don’t all start from the same baseline.
I knew what the end-point was going to be and I’ve achieved it: I started as chief executive last August. There’s no question in my mind that being on the programme helped me to secure this privilege.